As we are inspired by God to rebuild or build more of His kingdom work, Nehemiah Chapter 4 (in the Bible) reveals there are enemies of revival. Our response is to be strong in the Lord, in His power, clothed in His armour (Eph. 6:10-12), and to pray. We are to stay focussed on what God calls us to do, raising up prayer warriors and watchmen to ward off the attacks. Knowing our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
God’s desire in our lives is to see increased presence, power, authority, of Christ by His Spirit, as He expands His ministry through us. We are to increase (Is. 54), and build homes where we are planted (Jeremiah 29). As we follow God’s call to stretch our the tent pegs, strengthening the stakes, and doing the new things He places upon our hearts, we can be sure that the enemy will seek to both distract us from the work of God, attacking and seeking undermining us along the way.
The schemes of the enemy are resistance to God’s plans, but we are to be aware of these schemes. (2 Cor. 2:11). The encouraging thing is, as revealed in Revelations 20:10, the devil is defeated, and as the story of Nehemiah shows, the plans of God come to pass, and the work of revival and rebuilding is done. These attacks come from the enemy and people.
In Nehemiah God reveals through certain characters, the demonic forces behind these attacks, and there schemes. Today these spirit may be at work by influence those in the world around us, or even people in our midst. These can be summarised as follows:
• Sanballat – see Nehemiah 4 – This one uses character assassination, attacking your reputation (perhaps by criticising the services you provide or your character). Accusing you of being no good, weak, and useless. This demonic spirit will even try to undermine your relationship with the kings of the day, such as government. This enemy in the secret, will initially appear as something you should be very concerned about and cause you to think you have a real problem, however with discernment he is flushed out of the bushes, and its sinful nature revealed.
• Tobiah – see Nehemiah 4 – This one seeks to destroy your ministry and efforts. Partly by getting you to compare yourself to others that are ‘more’ successful. Also telling you your walls (and perhaps building and services) will collapse even if a fox runs on them, your efforts will be useless. His name perhaps even suggesting another scheme, by suggesting that if God is good, and bad things are happening to you, you are not in God’s will – missing the obvious point that we are in a battle, suffering is in the life of Christ, and what some see as bad, God sees as character and faith building!
• Geshem – see Nehemiah 6:2-4 – Partnering with others, using repetitive attacks, with the same content, trying to wear you down. Constant, nagging, messages, 4 fold, even 10 fold at times, telling you your plan or service will fail, and it won’t work. Definitely trying to rain on your parade, and even appearing like a storm of negative sentiment or news at times.
• Shemaiah – see Nehemiah 6:10-13 – Tries to close you in, encouraging you to settle down, retire, trying to use the fear of destruction to encourage to turn aside to a safer way of life. A constraining spirit that seeks to shut you up, or cause you to give up and leave. While God is calling you to expand (biblically), this demonic spirit seeks to shut you down, and seek life’s comforts, while even claiming to have heard God.
• Noahdiah – see Nehemiah 6:14 – Seeks to intimidate, using ‘fear’ of God through false prophecy. Or, even as this name means ‘met by God’, some of these false prophets will claim that hearing their words of fear and intimidation is a divine appointment. It is important to remember God’s (prophetic word) to you, knowing the false prophecies can come to intentionally take you from your God given destiny.
As revealed in Nehemiah 1-6, the key strategies that Nehemiah was inspired to do to counter these schemes (and those which should also be ours) are:
1. Wait on the Lord, surveying the lay of the land (even in secret), praying, seeking the Lord’s strategies, and calling the leaders together to share God’s plan for restoration and revival. Even recalling God’s prophetic promises for His work through you.
2. Stay focussed on God, and His mission for your organisation, and not be drawn in to the enemies schemes. Keeping focussed on the vision God has given us, and reminding those around us of what God has called us to, and that we are not to become, or trying to become, something or someone we are not.
3. Station those watchmen (and women) on the wall, and listen to what they say. In our context, be aware of those intercessors and prophetic people in our midst, affirm their roles, and listen to their insights from God
4. Pray and work, raising up an increased atmosphere of prayer. Encouraging all to have one ear to God, and the other to those around them. Being aware that the work of God is believing, praying, as well as using your heart, hands, feet, and mind.
5. Work together as a family, supporting each other in the work. Regardless of status or profession, rolling up the sleeves to do the work laid before you by God. We are to encourage each other to trust God and not be afraid when we hear of or see the enemy’s schemes.
As a final word of encouragement. Internal revival means repenting and turning to God, which leads to revival in a city. So to as we pursue God, and allow Him to cleanse us of the things that hinder a closer walk with Him, in areas of our lives turning afresh to the Lord, God’s work of revival in us is part of His plan to see revival in those around us, our city and the region around us. In doing so our Lord is reordering our lives in to His plan, and then He breathes His Spirit upon us causing resurrection to come to that mighty army of old…but with a new Spirit and skin!